A Prayer for My Lost Keys
But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. Acts 12:16
I’m quite absentminded and, so, it’s not uncommon for me to lose my car keys. I’ll look in all the usual spots with no luck. Then, late and frustrated, I’ll pray, asking God for miraculous intervention. At that point, my wife will suggest that I retrace my steps, thinking back to the last time I had them. In my irritation though, I don’t want to do that. I asked for God’s help and I expect that he will just miraculously whisper to me their location or perhaps the dog will come running with them in his mouth. Eventually, I listen to the wisdom of my wife, rethink my steps, and find my keys. That itself is an answer to prayer, but it’s not the one I’m looking for. I want the miracle.
The problem is that when I pray, I have a specific outcome in mind. I go to God, announcing my plan, expecting that he will do it. Prayer to me, often means bending God to my will. In this condition, I’m completely blind to the answer when it comes in a form that I’m not expecting.
This seems to be what happened in today’s passage. In the story, several Christians gathered to pray for Peter, whom Herod had arrested. Fearing that he would be executed like James, they must have begged God desperately for Peter’s safety. Unbeknownst to them, an angel had just freed Peter from prison. Peter went to the house where they were gathered and knocked on the door, but it took a while for him to gain entry because no one believed it was him. The young girl who answered the door, in her excitement, forgot to open it. She went and told the group Peter was there, but they refused to believe. You are out of your mind (Acts 12:15). Though they prayed, they nearly missed the answer when it came.
We too, often miss God’s answer because we view prayer only as asking for our will. It’s not wrong of course, to take our requests to God. The problem is that we should simultaneously be seeking his will. When we pray, we shouldn’t allow our plan to blind us from God’s plan. When we go to God with our requests, we must pray as Jesus prayed, Not my will, but yours, be done (Luke 22:42).